Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippines 4:6-7 (NLT)
Hold out your hand and close your eyes and you will get a big surprise. I have six older brothers. As an adult, I realize how gullible I was as a child. I fell for it every time. My brothers would play tricks on me. They weren’t evil tricks—they were big brother-little sister tricks. Do you ever feel like that is the case when you pray? Do you feel like the little kid hoping you’ll get what you asked for and not a “trick” from God as your answer to prayer?
Bow your head, fold your hands and close your eyes—it’s time to pray. Undoubtedly, that set of commands conjures an image in your mind.
There are all sorts of reasons people don’t pray. Here are a few that come to mind. You can add your reason to the list if you don’t find it.
- God never answers my prayers, so why pray.
- God doesn’t hear me when I pray, so why pray.
- I don’t know how to pray. I don’t know what to say.
- I don’t have time to pray.
There are many words written about why God doesn’t answer prayer. Honestly, I have found few of them very comforting or enlightening. I can’t presume to understand why God does what He does, or doesn’t act in a certain way. When I hear someone trying to explain God’s action or seeming inaction to the broken hearted, injured or sick person, I often cringe.
Perhaps a change of perspective about prayer is in order.
I’ve been blessed with amazing friends. I can talk on the phone with my friends for hours, given the chance. I used to work in the same office with my friend. We talked all day long, had morning coffee and lunch together, yet would still spend the evening together talking and laughing either in person or on the phone. We would spend our weekends watching movies or shopping. We never ran out of things to talk about. We never got tired of interacting. We knew each other’s deep, dark secrets. We saw each other in the darkest moments of life. We saw each other in the shining moments of success. We saw each other make stupid mistakes. We didn’t always approve of each other, but it didn’t change how we loved each other. We trusted each other. I was at her side when she took her last breath.
We were friends in every sense of the word. That relationship came from our interaction—both of us participated—both of us benefited.
There is a man at my church, who, when he leads the congregation in prayer, says as a call to prayer, “Let’s talk to God.” Then he talks to God. Would your prayer life be different, if you thought of prayer as it truly is, a talk with God?
Don’t mistake my example. I am not attempting to diminish God’s holiness or glory. I’m simply trying to convince you that the holy, glorious God of the universe WANTS to talk with you. THAT’S the change of perspective!
When I was sad, desperate, sick, happy, joyful, proud of my accomplishment, in trouble, or looking for another perspective, I contacted my friend. She was always available to help, console, rejoice, give advice or simply listen. Sometimes she acted, sometimes she listened, and sometimes she offered a different perspective— whatever her response I knew I could always share my honest thoughts with her.
Pray about everything.
Talk to God about everything. Prayer is not a religious incantation. It’s not the act of saying the words just right or catching God in the right mood or at the right moment so He’ll grant your wish. Certainly, petition is one part of prayer but it’s not the sole purpose of prayer.
Prayer is the relationship builder between a holy God and humanity.
There is no “right way” to pray: stand up, sit down, on the run, flat on your face, in despair, with joyful praise, with solemn worship, a quick cry, a laid out plan, a joyful shout, a daily request that is repeated for years, the cry of one who is angry and confused, your darkest sin or your greatest joy, your realization of God’s holiness and glory—you will find all those examples of prayer in scripture.
God wants to hear from you. Pray. Talk to God. Often, you’ll find His response back to you in His word, the Bible. That is why prayer and Bible study go hand in hand.
Pray about everything.
Father, help me come to You in every circumstance. Teach me the value of prayer. Change my wrong perspective and attitudes about prayer. I want to know you more. Change my negative thoughts about prayer. Remind me especially when I would hide or decided prayer is not worth the effort, that I find everything I need in a relationship with You.
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